Sunday, August 10, 2014

Balance and Writing

When I was five years old I got kicked out of dance class. The ballet instructor pulled my mom aside and very forcefully 'suggested' that I not come back. When my mom asked why, she was told, "Well, little Stephanie doesn't want to be a graceful butterfly like the other girls. She seems to think she's a dragon or something." It was true. I can remember all of us lined up at one corner of the tiny garage apartment dance studio, waiting our turn. All we had to do was 'float' from one of the corner of the dance floor to the other, taking little steps, waving our arms, like a graceful butterfly. Now, granted, this is a room full of five year old girls. I'm pretty sure that none of us were the epitome of grace that day, but everyone else seemed to at least grasp the concept. I waited my turn, excited to finally get to do something that wasn't just standing around with my feet pointed out like a duck. As soon as the girl ahead of me made it to the other side, I sprang.

I leaped across the stage, jumping as high as I could with every step, flailing my arms and yes, I probably roared. I'm pretty sure I threw in a karate kick at the end for good measure and was completely thrilled with myself until the ride home, when mom informed me that my ballet career was over. I wasn't going back.

I don't remember being too disappointed. I hadn't really been digging the pink leotards anyway.

I did better with gymnastics a few years later, though the only event I was good at was the vault. I could handle running and jumping off things. The coach kept me off the floor ("she can't even tumble in a straight line"), the uneven bars ("well, she keeps going for the high bar and falling on her face") and especially the balance beam. The coach didn't even need to explain that one. I could climb trees faster and higher than anyone I knew, I could run and somersault off the dock without even a second thought, but I could not handle that balance beam. It was a beast. I would glare up at it while doing crunches with my feet hooked underneath the practice beam for leverage. Stupid beam. I couldn't even do a routine on the practice beam, two inches above the ground.

I didn't have any balance. Or rather, I didn't have the patience to have balance.

Once I realized my hopes of making it on the USA Olympic team were sort of ludicrous, I gave it up. I starred in the elementary school play, found a love for theater and stuck with that. Though I stayed away from musicals. Having to dance in a straight line still wasn't working for me...


I'm still trying. I tend to go big or go home. For example, most people have one dog. I have five (seven in the past). I'm not very good at moderation. But I have to learn how to balance. School starts tomorrow and it's back to the day job. I'm also an editor. I'm also writing my third novel. I also have a book coming out in less than two months. I'm going to do all of these things. And I'm going to do them with my usual take-no-prisoners attitude and I'm going to succeed. (though I may not sleep for six months or so)

I may never be graceful. I may never be a butterfly. But I am going to balance the hell out of the year.

Or at least fall on my face trying.  



  1. You know as delicate as computer are supposed to be, I recall one early model of a Apple has in its repair instructions to lightly tap the side of the hard drive if it quit making sounds.I'm serious. I cracked up when I read that. When I repaired computers I always had a hammer handy, even if it wasn;t a proper tool for the job it certainly relieved frustration. And once in a while, when I gave the bad news to a customer that hit or her computer was beyond repair and needed to be replaced, I'd offer them the hammer as long as I got to take a shot at it myself.

  2. You go, Steph! Balance the Hell out of it. Love it!


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